We continued our date with him for a few more hours until I received a message from Aoi-chan.
“I got a reply from Aoi-chan.”
“Great, let’s go see her right away!”
“Yeah, let’s go.”
Our date had come to an end, and I wished Aoi-chan had taken a bit longer to reply, maybe five more hours. Well, there was no helping it.
“Alright, come with me. Aoi-chan says she took the day off from work”
I grabbed the bag with the clothes we had picked out together. I couldn’t help but feel a little regretful when I looked inside. I had chosen youthful outfits to show off a bit, but I was starting to feel self-conscious about being in my thirties.
We arrived at the meeting place, and Aoi-chan was already there, hugging him tightly. She seemed to have changed very little over the past ten years. Her eye was partially covered, and her figure appeared to have improved, which she seemed to attribute to him.
“I’m so happy. To see you again…”
“Regardless of the reason, I can’t believe something like this could happen… Um… I heard from Moegi that you want to meet Kohaku and Kuroko too, right?”
“Contact information… You know both of them…?”
“Then, please share their contact information!”
“Sure… I’ve actually already done it”
“I’m not as good as Kuro…I’ll show you both to our place…shall we hold hands?”
“Of course, let’s do it”
Aoi-chan held his hand as they walked together. Tears welled up slightly in her eyes, and she seemed to be reminiscing about their past. Meanwhile, Karen-chan and I silently walked behind them.
As they walked, they engaged in conversation. It felt like I had seen this scene many times before, and it warmed my heart.
“Are you in your first year of high school now?”
“Yes… Aoi-senpai is…”
“In my thirties.”
“You still look young.”
“Even if you flatter me, all I’ll do is grin.”
“Then, I’ll praise you even more!”
“You haven’t changed.”
“But Aoi-senpai has changed a bit. I like that too!”
It was only natural that he hadn’t changed much. But she was indirectly hinting that she had changed. However, he was the kind of person who could accept them even if she had changed. Aoi-chan’s cheeks took on a slight blush as she spoke about this.
I thought some flattery might be a good idea, but he was simply an honest person. That’s why she couldn’t help but feel genuinely happy, causing her cheeks to loosen up. In the end, by the time we reached the location where Kohaku-chan and Kuroko-chan were, Aoi-chan had blushed about a dozen times or more.
“Izayoi-kun, when will he come back? Is he really coming back?”
“I’ve been saying he will… just wait a bit…”
“It’s been a whole day since you said that!”
“Calm down… according to my fortune telling, he’s not dead.”
This isn’t like Gindou Kohaku at all… And the other characters weren’t supposed to be this infatuated with the opposite sex.
The path he’s walked must have been deeper than I thought…
“Is there really nothing we can do?”
Kohaku keeps persistently asking me. I don’t know if it’s her intuition or something else, but there’s one more way I haven’t mentioned yet. Either we turn him back into a panda or he naturally reverts. There doesn’t seem to be any other way, given the complicated situation from my divination.
“We need to unite the feelings of all five… then the Sword of the Star King will appear before you.”
“Gah… I’m not good at saying stuff like this… just don’t react like that.”
Come to think of it, there was a time when I mistakenly believed I was a special existence. Remembering those odd expressions…
“First, you need to unite your feelings. If you all think about wanting to see him together, then maybe… That’s all I can say.”
“I’ll try it. Thank you.”
The five of them hold hands in a circle, uniting their feelings towards him. It’s reminiscent of a final boss battle scene I once drew.
In the battle against the Demon King in the end, they merged intermediate power-up items by uniting the hearts of all the girls.
As a result, the Sword of the Star King, Avalon, manifested. This sword is literally the strongest and can perform miracles. Literally, it can make anything a miracle.
But only when their hearts are united. It seems like such an easy yet challenging condition. That’s why I portrayed it as an incredibly moving scene in the end.
“Ah, it looks like a strange sword appeared.”
A brilliant light spirals outward in five layers. A mysterious, enormous light akin to stars in the night sky. The brilliance continues to intensify… It’s as if a profoundly emotional scene I drew is now being recreated in an ordinary living room.
“Now, if you want to see him, just cut through spacetime however you like.”
“Izayoi-kun, I’ll take you back. Ei!”
Kohaku takes hold of the sword on behalf of everyone and cuts through space. A rift in spacetime appears.
Now, what will he do? As I watch the five of them run down the miraculous path, I hope for a future where they are saved.
We visited Kohaku and Kuroko’s family home. Meeting Kuroko again after fourteen years filled my heart with joy. I had wanted to do something like go to a batting center or a bowling alley with just the two of us after such a long time, but there was no helping it.
We rang the intercom, and the door opened, revealing Kohaku and Kuroko. They rushed into his arms.
They called his name and pressed their heads against his chest. It was amazing how, despite being in their thirties, they still had that youthful vibe. Their hearts were exceptionally big. They had grown considerably, both physically and in their affection for him. It seemed like Kuroko might get overwhelmed by their enthusiasm.
“Alright, Izayoi-kun, come inside, please!”
“Yes, please do!”
They pulled him into the house together. It felt like nothing had changed since that time. Or maybe, perhaps, that was exactly how it was. It seemed like their lives had come to a standstill after he had passed away.
According to rumors, they had been living at their family home all this time.
They were delighted to see him again, just like children. I was happy too. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but think about the sadness of their eventual separation. They probably understood it, but they were likely pretending not to notice.
…The fact that he would eventually have to leave.
“Ah, these cookies are so delicious! Say ‘ahh.'”
“And this sweet potato is also amazing, darling. Say ‘ahh.'”
I was sandwiched between Future Kohaku and Kuroko. They had grown even more stunning and seductive, and yet, they still looked so young.
They pressed their bodies against me, and our faces were very close. Meanwhile, Karen, Aoi, and Moegi watched us with pouting faces.
“Uh, guys, can we please calm down for a moment…”
“We don’t want to be left alone in the dark again!”
I had intended to lighten the mood, but I realized that I had inadvertently stirred up strong emotions in Kuroko and Kohaku. Kohaku squeezed my arm tightly without saying a word, and Kuroko suddenly raised her voice, quickly overtaken by sadness.
I could sense their emotions, the sadness of all of them. They were gripping my arm so tightly it hurt, their eyes losing their sparkle and searching for light.
But I had to return… that thought crossed my mind for just a moment. It immediately transmitted to both of them, no, to all of them.
Kuroko tightened her grip even more.
“I won’t give you back… Our fun days, our everyday life, from now on…”
I found myself lost for words. I couldn’t speak, and the atmosphere grew heavier in the room, everyone’s expressions turning darker.
“Everyone, we don’t want to give Darling back… We want to be together, always, forever…”
“Forever, always, we want you here.”
“Why, why, you promised to keep us happy, to stay with us! Darling, you promised!!”
Her outburst shook my emotions. Kuroko spoke on behalf of everyone, conveying their feelings. If I stayed here, they would be happy…
“Since you disappeared, it felt like we were barely alive. We stayed isolated, always thinking of you… even though we knew you were gone… But you…”
I couldn’t move. I felt trapped, unable to say a single word.
Before me were five people, all looking at me, pleading with their eyes. They wanted me to stay.
What should I do…?
The future without him had no meaning for me. It was days frozen in time, where I withdrew and felt lethargic, thinking that I would eventually die, constantly thinking of him, even though he shouldn’t be here anymore.
But he appeared. It was a miracle.
I wanted to make this miracle a part of my everyday life again. I’m holding onto his arm tightly right now. Beside me, my sister Kuroko is projecting her emotions onto him.
This must be what everyone is thinking, what they didn’t say out loud. She’s saying it for them.
Considering his personality, this forced choice to bind his answer into one must be truly sweet. I would be so happy if he stayed here with us. If that’s the case, then I’ll do anything.
I wonder if I’ll really be happy… But he has a place to return to…
A place he wants to return to.
“Izayoi-kun, please leave us and return to your original world…”
“There should be someone waiting for you… Originally, just being able to see you again made me… made us so happy. My memories with you resurfaced, and I remembered everything, your warmth, your kindness… That’s why, we can live with just that, and it’s enough for us… It makes us happy.”
I let go of his arm. I’m holding back tears, but they fall anyway. It’s all a lie. It’s all a lie. Happiness is a lie. But I can’t keep him here. I’ve received so much from him already.
I’ve received more than enough, but it’s still not enough. But he’ll never be happy if he stays here with me. So I have to let him go.
“That’s why… Goodbye, Izayoi-kun.”
“Why? I don’t understand… It’s for the time being, right?”
“Kuroko, Izayoi-kun has a place to return to. You should know that.”
“One last time… Let’s end it as good girls, okay? Kuroko…”
At that moment, a rift appeared in the space-time continuum. There we were… looking at ourselves from the past. We were shocked.
And they were asking him to come back.
“Darling… Please make everyone happy.”
“Kuro… Thank you.”
“Izayoi, be confident and do your best.”
“The days I spent with you, I was happy.”
We pushed him to go.
He turned around slowly, tears flowing from his eyes like a waterfall, and snot dribbling from his nose. He walked toward the rift. Once he enters that path, it really is goodbye…
He steps into it. At that moment, our tears overflowed like never before.
And thank you…
Is this really okay…? With future them behind me and present them in front of me, I have to return to my original world. But there’s no way I can just leave everyone here!!!
I stepped onto the path back…
I won’t think about what comes next. From now on, I’ll find a way to create a future of happiness, just as I promised, just as I swore.
Whether it’s in the future or now, it doesn’t matter.
“Even if it’s the future, it doesn’t matter!! I promised to make you all happy!!”
I forcefully pulled the hands of the five of them. The present girls are too shocked to understand what’s happening. The future girls are the same. I put the past and the future girls side by side.
Then, I kneeled down on the ground. Hit my head so hard that it hurts.
“――All of you, please marry me!!!!!!”
In the next moment, there was an enormous outburst of astonishment.
But I decided to choose this path. A path that will make both the future and the present girls happy.
TL: Thank you all for reading till the end. Not going to lie, I was kinda disappointed how the story progressed but enjoyable nonetheless. There are still 3 side stories left.